It’s a Family Thing


I have been told that I come from a long line of singers. Seems like people in both sides of my parents’ family trees have been talented, both men and women. So sometimes it feels like I am carrying on a family tradition. Mama says that her dad was really good with a piano and he used to sing too. After he fought in the War and came home, he didn’t want to sing much but it was a way to make extra money while he was going to school to become a teacher. He played in lounges and would come home smelling like cigarettes and Grandma would throw a fit. She was happy when he quit being a musician and started being a teacher, according to my mom. I don’t really know because they both died before I was born.

But my other grandma, my Daddy’s mom, she is a firecracker. And a good singer, to boot. As a kid, I would make her sing “O Christmas Tree” with me before we could turn the lights on. Everyone – especially my brothers — would roll their eyes but I think they secretly enjoyed it. They would sing along too, they just acted like they didn’t care. She had to move out of her home and now she lives in an assisted living facility a half hour away, but we go and pick her up or visit her as much as we can. I still like to sing with her, and sometimes we sing along to the radio together. We brought her to the wedding of a friend of mine last year because I got to sing a solo during the service – that was so much fun! Grandma doesn’t just like church music either. She likes to listen to “what the kids” are listening to as well. She probably knows more contemporary music than I do.

Mama sings, too. I wish she would join the choir with me. Or maybe we could be a mother/daughter singing group like the Judds. It’s too bad because she’s really shy. She hates it when anybody can hear her and sometimes she’ll just mouth the words to a song if she thinks she can get away with it. I know she has a lovely voice because she always sang to me and my brothers when we were sick or when we had trouble falling asleep. If I try to bring that up now, though, she tells me I am remembering it wrong. That’s unlikely!

Daddy and my brothers all enjoy country western music, and they’ll sing along to that all day long. And the fight songs for their favorite college teams, too. I love listening to them sing because they all have this hard shell and I only see their softer side when they’re singing along to something.

Like I said, singing is a family thing!